the dorbel daily

Thursday 25 August 2011

The Fibs Holiday Quiz

Sorry to have been away so long. I occasionally have to interrupt backgammon for life!

Here are three nice checker play problems for you, taken from a recent lesson. As an experiment, I am using my new toy eXtremeGammon to make the diagrams. Hope you like them, but if you don't I can easily revert to the old wooden boards.

Position One

White lead 4-0 to 5 and it's the Crawford game. Black is on roll. Several plays suggest themselves, what do you like?

Position Two

Same game a bit later on, Black has a 4-2 to play.

Position Three

.......and still in the Crawford game, Black to play 6-3.

Answers please, but as ever, your reasoning is much more valuable than the right play!
Enjoy the game!


ah_clem said...

1) Gammons aren't worth much here, so aggressive plays like 6/4* are probably the wrong idea. That said, 6/4*/1* is worth a very long look. It totally knocks white off balance, and white is behind in the race and the match so Magriel's criteria favor bold (other criteria are neutral).

Black could make the 22 point with the safe 24/22 16/13, but that just seems too passive. I'll go for the double hit. 6/4*/1*

2) I'm looking around for alternative plays to 24/22 13/9* and not seeing any. 13/9* 8/6 is a possibility, but making an anchor seems more useful than shuffling checkers into the homeboard. QF mates me think there's some other move, but I'm failing to even see it.

3) I like making the 10 point. This places a point right in front of the anchor (6 pips away) which will make 6s play awkwardly.

I could hit loose with 6/3*, but this seems unnecessarily aggressive given that black is leading in the race. To make it pay off would require moving another builder into range with 13/7, and then we're offering too many shots.

Another option is to run to the midpoint, but this leaves 3 blots hanging around against a four point board. Why lead with my chin?

16/10 13/10

Julia said...

(i) Two men back on the ace makes me want to get them moving, precisely because of the likelihood of drifting into position (ii). The double hit feels premature as I have no board advantage and not enough men in the zone to really attack. 24/22 24/21 and leave White to worry about extricating his men.

(ii) The prime is closing in, even more important not to get pinned back on the ace point. 24/22 is now automatic, I think, and the only 4 that really makes sense is 13/9*.

(iii) I don't want to leave the anchor unless I can do it reasonably cleanly, and I should be looking for a relatively safe play. 16/10 13/10 looks nice but it doesn't really hinder White (who can play with the 3-point blot before worrying about bad 6s) and gives us a point that we might not clear nicely. Again, still no fear of gammons. So the hit is going up in my thoughts. 6/3* 13/7 is dangerous, but what about 6/3* 16/10? White can only hit outside by breaking the anchor - much better for us than 12/16* - and we have a whole load of indirect covers (any 7, 8 or 10) to add to the direct 2.